Sennheiser MS and Schoeps MS Pairs Compared

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by rcastiglione, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. rcastiglione

    rcastiglione Guest

    I own an MS pair of Sennheisers MKH40 Mid and MKH30 which I use occasionally for recording small choirs and ensembles and also recording foley.

    I have a chance to pick up a Schoeps MS (cardiod centre) pair as well and was wondering whether anyone who has been lucky enough to use and compare both could comment on whether the sound is noticeably different?

    The main issue is that I have noticed that the Sennheiser MKH30 has an extended frequency range compared to the Schoeps. The Sennheiser figure of 8 I understand has an electronically extended bottom end. Also the Schoeps rolls off after about 16 khz.


  2. rcastiglione

    rcastiglione Guest

    Ok, some views but no response so maybe I should be more specific. So here goes.

    Would the Sennheiser's be better for choral work because of the extended frequency range of the figure 8 microphone? Maybe this doesnt matter, I dont know.

    Is anyone using the Schoeps MS as a stereophonic technique for this kind of work or is it more suited to foley work?

  3. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I think this forum is close to death. Unfortunately those who could advise in this matter are seen in other places but not here. Shame really, it was showing some promise.
  4. MasonMedia

    MasonMedia Guest

    Hello Rob,

    I can guess that most everyone here in the States is on holiday this weekend.

    I use Schoeps microphones to record choral works. No direct experiences with Sennheiser MKH series, however I know John Eargle likes Sennheiser for spot mics and choral pick-up.

    From a quick look at the technical specs, I notice one thing that will make the Schoeps MK4 sound different compared to the MKH 40 is the slight rise starting about 10K. This may open up the sound depending on the acoustic and placement. Otherwise, they look very similar, at least on paper.

    I have recorded with the MK4/Mk8 in MS as a center pair flanked by a pair of MK21 (Sub-Card) (or MK2 omni) depending on the acoustic and instrumentation. It has worked well for me.

    Hope that helps.
  5. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    It mkight be that the question is a bit difficult to answer as maybe few persons has done an A/B comparison between these two mic setups.

    I have used the MKH30/MKH40 pair for orchestral recordings with good results. Both mics sounds good to my ears, although the amount of mics I can compare to is not very large. Never used the Schoeps though. I do believe both setups are standard setups used by quite a few persons.

    My firm belief is that both sets represent high quality making the deciding factor the taste of the user. If at all possible I would recommend you to rent or borrow the mics and try them out for yourself.

    The extende bottom end probably makes very little difference in choral recordings, none of the singers goes down that low in frequency. So the bottom end is mostly "atmosphere". Sometimes that include things like subways and passing buses.

  6. liuto

    liuto Guest

    There was a long thread comparing MK8 and MKH30 over at prosoundweb:
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I wouldn't say that it's dead, or close to it. We have seen 2 members move away to other forums, but plenty others are still here. I just agree that it is a US holiday and many people haven't compared both of these mics.

    For omni and cardioid, I've used both the Senn's and the Schoeps. I own a few pair of the Schoeps and none of the Senn's. That's the only endorsement I could provide. To me, the Schoeps are clearer, more defined and more realistic. The Senn's seem hyper-realistic. Too much in the bass and a very round upper range. Whether this holds true for all of the Schoeps line vs all of the Senn line, I can't say. I do know that the MKH-800 is a shining example of what to do right with a microphone, but the price demonstrates that all too well.

  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Nah, it isn't dead... Besides the holidays, many of us are also just insanely busy. This is the most hectic fall I've ever had. Home hasn't been much more than a bed for me... I'm not complaining, but it just leaves little time for the forums (this and all the others I participate in).

    I dig both pairs... I actually use the Schoeps more often, but I don't really record choirs with M-S. I don't really like what it does to the image. For choirs, I usually use either a blumlein pair or omnis.

    For choral work, I love schoeps. The MK-21 is probably my favorite capsule of all. I find that the Sennheisers have something in the low-mids that doesn't always work. They are extremely quiet and can sound awesome, but not always. When I use MKH80's, I find that I have to position them very differently than when I use other mics in similar situations.

  9. rcastiglione

    rcastiglione Guest

    Thanks for the replies. I have been thinking of the Schoeps wide cardiods for some time as an alternative. And Gunnar you right about the usefulness of the extended bottom end - mostly traffic noise rumble.

  10. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    I bought a pair of CMC621 a couple of months back. Have limited experience, but I love what I've gotten so far. Next up is using them as choir spots in a orch+choral Messiah gig next week. Looking forward to it!

  11. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    Forum isn't really dead David. I for one am extrememly busy this time of year. However, no offense to Ben and Cucco, I have found other forums to provide more meaningful discussions, professionalism and accurate "sound" information. I still peruse conversations here and will add things when appropriate to do so and/or if/when I have time.
  12. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Just speaking as a beginner I find this forum to be marvellous. I've learned *tons* here. Great forum IMO. :cool:
  13. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to hear it, but I agree with you about the meaningful discussions, elsewhere. I was kinda hoping this forum would extend above and beyond the gear obsession downstream of the mic, as there are plenty of forums around for that sort of thing. I will be patient for a little longer.
  14. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Forums are whatever you make them. I run a busy IT forum as part of my day job for the past many years. If you present a certain angle with energy and dedication people will respond. If you leave a forum to evolve on its own devices without strong guidance it will almost never turn out the way you hoped although it can still turn into something exciting. It really comes down to how bad you want something. :cool:
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I don't know guys -
    I've checked out the other forums on a regular basis (and still do.) I find that they are all just as "gear obsessed" as this forum here. The only difference is that people get chastized for speaking of gear like Rode or Audio Technica instead of DPA or Schoeps.

    The funny thing is, the other forum out there with the orchestral recording forum (which I might add was kind of a copy cat of this forum's) seems to hash up all the same old questions over and over and over again. Many of the questions are so silly or elemetary, I can't imagine it being all that helpful.

    In reality, much of the discussions in the Acoustic Music forum here rise far above gear. Very rarely will you see someone asking something stupid like:
    "Yo, which microphone would work best for all orchestral recording situations..."
    These are the kinds of questions that are rampant on all of the other forums, but not here.

    Many of the questions here are legitimate, detailed questions about specific items (notice how much information about pipe organ recording has been given out here...)

    I like, but I wouldn't so easily lump the Acoustic Music forum into the same ball as the rest of them on RO - the questions, answers and attitudes are all different.

  16. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. :D
  17. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Whether it's dead or alive, I'm glad this forum is still here! I've been away for almost a year, so it is good to catch up.

    I don't have any AB side-by-side comparison info for you, but I do have subjective impressions of both rigs gleaned over time. I doubt they'll make me very popular, but these are my subjective opinions only and so arguments about whether I'm right or wrong are irrelevant.

    Most of my early experiences with MS were with Sennheiser's MKH series, and the combination never EVER impressed me - whether it was choral, piano, quartet, orchestral, whatever. The sound always felt cold, sterile and dissonant. Sure, it was quiet and accurate and so on, but I found it would always repel my ears after a few minutes of listening. I didn't like it at all, but in those days I did not know if it was the MS technique, the mics, or both. I suspected it was the mics, because I've had the same impression when using MKH series previously. It *sounds* like there's some form of intermodulation distortion going on, adding overtones that don't belong there - it is reminiscent of listening to an amplifier circuit that has excessive intermodulation distortion. But that's a subjective impression only, I'm not trying to qualify it objectively.

    [I am sure the indignant MKH fans here will shoot back a list of specs and so on that prove the IMD is way down. Whatever... Like I said, this is what it sounds like to *me*. I haven't bothered doing any measurements because there would be no point - it's not going to change what they sound like!]

    About two years ago I tried a Schoeps MS pair (CCM4Lg/CCM8Lg) and was well-impressed. In fact, the Schoeps rig converted me to the wonders of the MS technique. I bought the rig as soon as I could afford it. Where the Sennheisers sounded cold and sterile and dissonant, the Schoeps just sounded natural and real. And that is what most people say about the recordings I've made with them; I consider that a good sign.

    As for LF roll-off, I am very happy with the Schoeps. If the MKH bidirectional achieves its extended LF response through built-in EQ (as has been suggested here), I'm certainly not interested in it. I'll do whatever EQ is needed with linear phase EQ in my DAW (on the S channel only before decoding from MS if necessary), at least as well as some ultra-miniature low-powered analog circuit crammed into a microphone body can do it, and with less noise and other artefacts.

    Finally, still on the topic of LF roll-off, comparing microphone specs from different manufacturers is fraught with peril. Unless you know the methods and - most importantly for directional microphones - the distance from the sound source that the response was measured at, you are really comparing apples with oranges because LF response changes with distance.

    I hope some of this has been helpful...

    - Greg Simmons
  18. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member

    Since the file is still hosted on Jeremy's server, here is an example of an acoustic recording done over the holidays with the Schoeps CMC54/58 MS pair.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    [If you downloaded it on the other thread, please pass.]

    No experience with the Senns, but this is why I LOVE the Schoeps. :cool:

  19. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Greg!

    Welcome back! I think we're all glad to see that you haven't been eaten by the Yeti.

    Do you have any good stories to share with us while you are connected??
  20. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Thanks Jeremy! The Yeti took one bite, spat me back out and said, "Urgh, tastes like beer. Must be an Aussie..."

    Story? Okay...

    About two weeks ago I went to a beautiful little lakeside town called Pokhara (a popular destination in Nepal), at the base of the snow-capped Annapurna mountain range. I found a cave full of bats and tried to record the sound of them leaving en-masse at dusk (or thereabouts) to feed on insects. I was sitting patiently at the entrance of the cave with my recording equipment, it was pitch black (a moonless night), and I couldn't see anything at all except stars in the sky. Oh, and the gently flashing red LED of the Nagra V indicating it was in record pause mode with the 20 second pre-record buffer running. I had the headphones on, waiting to hear the sound of the bats coming out, when suddenly I heard some rather un-bat-like noises followed by a very low growl.

    I cautiously turned on my head-torch and saw a pair of large green eyes reflecting straight at me, about 3m away, in the mouth of the cave. That was one of the scariest things I've ever seen! If it hadn't been so willy-shrivelling cold I would've definitely created a temporary warm place in my trousers. I was so scared that I neglected to flick the Nagra V into record mode, which would've captured the previous 20 seconds - including the growl. Dammit!

    Further foolhardy investigations proved it be a jungle cat (also known as a 'bamboo tiger', but nowhere near as big or ferocious as a real tiger). It was hunting bats and I was in its territory - hence the warning growl. Turns out there were two of them, a mating pair. No bats came out that night, for obvious reasons, so all I have is a story and one very low-res blurry picture of a large feline crouching in the mouth of a cave. No bat sounds, and no recorded growl.

    A week later (now one week ago) I was in the jungles of Chitwan National Park and got too close to a Royal Bengal Tiger. We'd been following its fresh footprints for about two hours, and had gone way off the trails, finding ourselves pushing and tripping through the ferns, vines and undergrowth of the jungle. I stopped to record a beautiful bird sound (a black-hooded oriel, IIRC), and we stood there silently for about five minutes as the recording progressed. When I turned off the recording equipment and started to move away, something very large growled at me. My guide indicated it was the tiger we'd been tracking, and he looked very scared - tigers often kill people in the jungles of Nepal! I couldn't see it, only hear it, but it was very close, less than 4m away. (Camouflage is quite an amazing thing: a tiger is big and covered in black and orange vertical stripes, you'd think it would be clearly visible in a jungle of green ferns and so on, but it isn't.) We all froze, terrified. While I stood there motionless, trying to make out the shape of this large thing that I could hear slowly stalking through the undergrowth, my mind wandered back to the jungle cat growl a few days earlier and I said to myself, "Record! Record!" Again, I had the Nagra V's 20 second pre-record buffer running and the growl was clocking through it. But the Nagra was on the ground, I was standing upright, and I was kind of, er, frozen. I certainly wasn't going to bend down and take my eye off the undergrowth just to put the Nagra into record mode. I'm stupid, but not THAT stupid!

    After a minute or so of being scared to death and pondering the Boolean logic of my last requests (don't bury me in Melbourne, don't bury me in a suit, and don't bury me in a suit in Melbourne), a flock (?) of startled jungle chickens squawked out of the undergrowth about 15m in front of us, and we knew the tiger had moved away. We hightailed to the river bank (where we'd be able to see anything approaching us) and had a very nervous packed lunch, deciding it was not a good idea to follow fresh tiger tracks any more. What was I thinking, anyway? Fresh tiger prints lead to fresh tiger, right? Jeez...

    Sorry for hi-jacking the thread.

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